L. Stanley Crane
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L. Stanley Crane
Leo Stanley Crane[1]
Born(1915-09-07)September 7, 1915
DiedJuly 15, 2003(2003-07-15) (aged 87)
NationalityUnited States American
Alma materThe George Washington University
OccupationRailroad executive
Known forConsolidated Rail Corporation

L[eo] Stanley Crane[1] (Sept. 7, 1915 - July 15, 2003) was a railroad executive who served as CEO of Southern Railway. Trained as a chemical engineer, Crane was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1978. After retiring from Southern Railway, he worked for Conrail where he later endowed the L. Stanley Crane Chair of engineering in applied sciences at his alma mater, George Washington University.


He graduated from The George Washington University with a chemical engineering degree in 1938. He began his career with Southern Railway, and worked for the railroad, except for a stint from 1959 to 1961 with the Pennsylvania Railroad, until reaching the company's mandatory retirement age in 1980. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 1978.[1]

Crane went to Conrail in 1981 after a distinguished career that had seen him rise to the position of CEO at the Southern Railway.[2]

With Conrail

Crane went to Conrail in 1981, where he presided over the turnaround of the deficit-plagued railroad, which began turning a profit as a result of Staggers Act freedoms and its own managerial improvements under his leadership. While the Staggers Act helped immensely in allowing all railroads to more easily abandon unprofitable rail lines and set their own freight rates, it was under Crane's leadership that Conrail truly became a profitable operation. In the two years after he took office in 1981 he shed 4,400 miles from the Conrail system, which accounted for only 1% of the railroad's overall traffic and 2% of its profits while saving it millions of dollars in maintenance costs.

In 1983, Crane began a five-year battle with Transportation Secretary Elizabeth H. Dole to hold onto Conrail. Crane was an outspoken critic of Dole's proposal to sell the rail system to Norfolk Southern Corporation, and fought for a public stock offering to return the railroad to the private sector. In November 1986, Crane delivered a check for $200 million to President Ronald Reagan. By that spring, Conrail paid an additional $100 million to the government. In March 1987, the government sold Conrail in a public stock offering. Investors on the New York Stock Exchange quickly snapped up 58,750,000 shares of Conrail; the sale netted $1.58 billion. Crane later saw Conrail sold to two rival bidders, Norfolk Southern and CSX, for more than $10 billion (five times the price for which the Reagan Administration had been willing to sell the railroad).

In 1989, Conrail established the L. Stanley Crane chair professorship in the College of Engineering at The George Washington University.[3][4]The endowed L. Stanley Crane professorship of engineering in applied science was first held by GWU's former engineering dean Harold Liebowitz[5][6][7] (1989-1991)[8] and then by the chair of Computer Science Roger H. Lang (1991-present).[4][9] was amongst the first three fellows elected to the Society of Engineering Science in 1975 together with Ahmed Cemal Eringen and Warren P. Mason.

Personal life

In 1962, Mr. Crane married Jean Eward. They had twins, Pamela and Penelope. That marriage ended in divorce in 1976. Jean Crane died in 1998. Mr. Crane was married to Joan McCoy from 1976 to 1999. He died of pneumonia on July 15, 2003 at a hospice in Boynton Beach, Fla. He was 87.[10] Mr. Crane is buried in the Fort Lincoln Cemetery, MD.

Business positions
Preceded by
W. Graham Claytor, Jr.[11][12]
L. Stanley Crane
President of Southern Railway

1977 – 1980
Succeeded by
Harold H. Hall
Preceded by
Edward G. Jordan
L. Stanley Crane
Chairman of Conrail

1981 – 1988[13]
Succeeded by
Richard D. Sanborn
Preceded by
James W. Germany (SP)
Modern Railways magazine's
Man of the Year

Succeeded by
Frank E. Barnett (UP)
Preceded by
A. Paul Funkhouser (FL)
Modern Railways magazine's
Man of the Year

Succeeded by
Hays T. Watkins (CSX)


  1. ^ a b c L. Stanley Crane was elected in 1978 as a member of the United States National Academy of Engineering in Industrial, Manufacturing & Operational Systems Engineering for pioneering in the application of modern and creative engineering concepts to more productive railroad equipment and operations.
  2. ^ Phillips, Christopher (March 1994). "This Railroad Is Building Up Speed". Kiplinger's Personal Finance. p. 38.
  3. ^ In 1989, Conrail established the L. Stanley Crane chair at George Washington University College of Engineering.
  4. ^ a b List of GWU Professors & Stanley Crane Professor
  5. ^ Harold Liebowitz was elected in 1975 as a member of National Academy of Engineering in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanical Engineering for his leadership in the management of research programs in structural mechanics and contributions to the engineering literature in this field.
  6. ^ Harold Liebowitz was elected a fellow of the Society of Engineering Science together with Ahmed Cemal Eringen and Warren P. Mason in 1975.
  7. ^ The endowed L. Stanley Crane professorship of engineering in applied science at GWU
  8. ^ Dr. Liebowitz was dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science from 1968 to 1991.
  9. ^ The endowed L. Stanley Crane professor and Fellow of the IEEE
  10. ^ L. Stanley Crane Dies; Ran Southern Railway, Conrail
  11. ^ White, John H. Jr. (Spring 1986). "America's Most Noteworthy Railroaders". Railroad History. 154: 9-15. ISSN 0090-7847. JSTOR 43523785. OCLC 1785797.
  12. ^ quotes from article by journalist Don Phillips of the Washington Post in a "Tribute to W. Graham Claytor, Jr." published May, 1994
  13. ^ L. Stanley Crane has announced publicly he plans to retire at the end of 1988

See also

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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